All Projects and Incentives

Know Your Water Use

About this Project

Use Water Like it's a Precious Commodity, Because it is!

Every drop counts! Whether you’re on public water or have your own well, the benefits of conserving water add up:

  • If you’re on a municipal water meter, your water bill will go down.
  • If you’re on a well, you’ll have water for drier times of year like late summer/early fall.
  • Regardless of the source, you’ll save money on the electricity it takes to pump and heat water. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, heating water can account for 12% of a home’s annual energy use!

We use the most amount of water in the bathroom —showering, running water at the sink, and using the toilet — account for more than 50% of household water use. A 2016 study, also found that 17% of residential water use was from the Washing Machine.

Changing your water use in the bathroom and making sure you are doing full load of laundry is a good place to start saving water, and money.


Here are some easy ways to reduce your household water use:



In the Bathroom

  • Fix leaks 
  • Turn off the faucet when brushing your teeth or shaving; turning off the water while brushing can save up to 8 gallons a day, or 240 gallons a month!
  • Take shorter showers;  We recommend using a shower timer! The average American shower lasts for 8.2 minutes and uses 17.2 gallons .
  • Use a high efficiency shower head; Replacing your current showerhead with a new model that uses 2.5 gallons per minute (gpm) may or may not save water in your home. Many people already have a 2.5 gpm showerhead installed.WaterSense LogoShowerheads are inexpensive (starting at less than $5) and can be a good way to save water in your home. Reducing hot water use saves energy because your hot water heater has less work to do. Water–saving showerheads that earn the WaterSense label must demonstrate that they use no more than 2.0 gpm. The WaterSense label also ensures that these products provide a satisfactory shower that is equal to or better than conventional showerheads on the market. EPA worked with a variety of stakeholders—including consumers who tested various showerheads—to develop criteria for water coverage and spray intensity. All products bearing the WaterSense label—including water–efficient showerheads—must be independently certified to ensure they meet EPA water efficiency and performance criteria.
  • Use a bucket to collect cold water at the start of a shower and use the water for plants or animals.
  • Do full loads in the dishwasher and washing machine.


In the Living Room and Kitchen

  • Use dehumidifier water for watering plants.
  • Scrape dishes instead of rinsing before loading the dishwasher; pre-rinsing can use up to 20 gallons of water. Soak baked-on or burned dishes.
  • Avoid using the “rinse and hold” feature on the dishwasher, which uses 3–7 gallons of water without cleaning your dishes.
  • More tips for efficient dishwasher use: U.S. Department of Energy.
  • Use less water when washing dishes by starting with just a little water in the dishpan. Use a dishpan to catch rinse water and then soak the dishes as you go.



  • Clean your driveway and walks with a broom instead of the hose.
  • Set your sprinkler system on a timer and don’t use it after rains.
  • Choose native and drought tolerant plants.
  • Install a rain barrel.  Use the collected water to water your garden (not your fruits and vegetables).
  • Follow organic lawn care practices

Check out this video from National Geographic on water saving tips.

Image Credit: Sakhorn Saengtongsamarnsin, 123RF


If its time for you to get a new Water Heater or Washing Machine, choose an ENERGY STAR appliance to save energy and money.  Plus, you may be eligible for hundreds of dollars in rebates from your utility company:

Montgomery County offers a $250 tax credit for buying energy efficiency appliances.

Presidents Day Weekend each year, Maryland declares it the Shop Maryland Energy Tax Free Weekend. For 3 days, buying some ENERGY STAR appliances are tax free.  Learn more. 

After you shop, there are also rebates for recycling old appliances. Contact your utility to learn more.

Image Credit: Irstone, 123RF

Water is a limited and precious commodity, and much of the world doesn’t even have access to clean water. The less you use, the more there will be for everyone, and you’ll save money on water and energy bills.

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